March 11th, 2008
10:11 AM ET
15 years ago

Obama camp hammers Clinton's foreign policy experience

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Obama's campaign launched a fresh attack on Clinton's experience claim Tuesday."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama's presidential campaign took some of its most pointed jabs to date at Hillary Clinton's claim of experience, circulating a memo to reporters Tuesday morning from former Clinton State Department official Greg Craig that suggests the New York senator uses "false charges and exaggerated claims to play politics with national security."

"When your entire campaign is based upon a claim of experience, it is important that you have evidence to support that claim," Craig, an Obama supporter, says in the memo. "Hillary Clinton's argument that she has passed 'the Commander- in-Chief test' is simply not supported by her record."

Craig served as director of policy planning at the State Department during former President Bill Clinton's second term.

The sharply worded memo follows similarly charged words from many Obama surrogates in recent days as the Illinois senator's presidential campaign appears to be seeking to alter the perception - shown in Ohio and Texas exit polls - that Clinton is more ready to be Commander-in-Chief.

The memo also references Clinton's now-famous 3 a.m. ad - increasingly viewed as keys to her wins in Texas and Ohio - and says the commercial and her claim to foreign policy credentials "consists of nothing more than making the assertion, repeating it frequently to the voters and hoping that they will believe it."

The memo was released ahead of an Obama campaign conference call with Iraq war veteran and Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Murphy, as well as other Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.

Reacting to the memo and campaign conference call, Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said, "It’s tough to see how Senator Obama can tout his commitment to the military when he couldn’t be bothered to hold a single policy hearing on Afghanistan. Considering that Senator Obama’s record is just words, it’s no wonder that voters are having doubts about his readiness to be commander-in-chief."

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- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (389 Responses)
  1. jkk

    About time. l mean tell me how does been a first Lady constitute executive experience or commander-in- chief treshold? It is good judgement just like Obama have shown when everyone else was too afraid to say that the war was a dump war. So tell me, what does that say of hillary who without thinking twice vote to authorise the war that is costing us billions every week? and you are ready to take the treshold of command? in your dreams may be. Obama is more than capable and he should be the next president of our great country to restore our dignity, and restore our friendship with the world at large.
    Enough of don't talk to your enemy nonsense because it has not produce result, that is the meaning of insanity!.

    March 11, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. Eloise

    Hillary Clinton got caught in lies about her foreign policy experience...but everyone must remember who she is. Hillary Clinton is a liar.....and liars tell lies. She always has... Hillary Clinton will keep on lying and this is all that she knows...this is what makes her so dangerous.

    The lies about foreign policy experience...means that she is taking credit for someone else’s hard work.

    WAKE UP...If we have Iraq to deal with...and must focus our man power there...I don't care if you hold one million meaningless meetings about Afghanistan have nothing to take action with.

    Obama ‘08

    March 11, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. Ben

    One thing you CAN'T deny, OBAMA HAS NO EXPERIENCE, PERIOD!!

    March 11, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. Cathy from PA

    Wow the Obama supporters here sure do have to do a lot of hollering to defend their candidate. I wonder why that is....perhaps the inexperienced notion really isn't that far off.

    List his journeys in elected service...

    March 11, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  5. Antz

    Like they say she will do anything, Absolutely anything to get into the big house, jumping at even the slightest thing she can find. She has fallen short of slapping senator Obama in his face literally.

    One minute she says she is willing to have him as Vice President and the next she says he is not ready. She says she is honored to be in the debate with him, the next she says only she and Senator McCain are ready to be commander in chief.

    Given that she changes her story to suit the mode of things, here are some questions and likely scenarios.
    – Iraq – To the voters she'll say pull the troops out. While in the white house I predict she'll say we have to stay in there
    – Health care – She'll say universal health care for all – In the white house, the economy shall take a greater part of her schedule and hence no time for pushing for health care.
    – Immigration – She argues reform today, In the white house, well it may go anyway she pleases.

    In summary, She just wants to get to the white house and she will step on everyone and everybody even her own party. If she doesn't get the nomination, then no one will, and that has been her motto and will continue to be.

    Vote for Hillary only if you fully understand that she is going to do exactly the opposite of what she says.

    March 11, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  6. Douglas, Columbus, Ga.

    So, The DNC is contemplating demanding a joint ticket with Hitler and O Blah Blah. It doesn't matter who it is as long as the Democrats win the election....Sounds like you are all sheep.
    That's right, lets get somebody...Anybody to collect the White House this term and we will have the House for the next 16 years...sounds rather dictator-like or very socialist to me. Who is your real candidate?
    the whole party? What a fight that will turn out to be..Howard Dean, Nancy, and all of the other money hungry goons to fight over who will "RUN" the new Gov't?

    March 11, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  7. Independent Texas Voter

    Uh oh...Hillary's fantasy experience is being brought into question. We KNOW she doesn't have any.

    If Bill Clinton let her act in serious negotiations or crises resolution, then we should have not just impeached him, we should have removed him from office.

    I remember her "world" tour at the expense of us tax payers toward the end of Bill's last term. That was all it was...a free guided world tour, nothing more.

    March 11, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  8. David

    Obama is no different from any other candidates. His is a piece of trash and will stoop to anything for a vote. Wait a minute, isn't that what Obama people said about Hillary.

    March 11, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  9. Kenneth

    Hey Hillary, what about those tax returns and those papers from the 8 years while being the first lady?

    March 11, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  10. Norman Pennett

    She manages to keep the Clinton family together after all the hog wash (pun intended)and scandals. New York hired her twice to be Senator She is one strong woman if you ask me........ give her a chance Obama gets the kids to vote for him. I don't know about you guys but I wouldn't let an 18-25 year old run my household never mind the Whitehouse.

    March 11, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  11. Pam

    Obama did not tout anything. Hillary and Bill Clinton did when they offered him the VP job.

    Hillary said the VP has to be ready to be president, then they offered it to him as if they had it to offer.

    Black, white, male, female...............Hillary and Bill Clinton have practically preached that Obama is ready to go "ON DAY ONE"

    That is that!!

    March 11, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. CALEB


    March 11, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  13. Steve in Albuquerque, NM

    I guess the memo is correct since the Clinton campaign couldn't refute any of it.

    March 11, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. steven

    Silly season in politics and sounds ridicules; if I claim to have 35 years of experience in my CV, I should be able to back it out.

    March 11, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  15. jj

    Why is he even saying this? This the man that counts what he did as a 6 year old as foreign policies. This guy just as no idea what he is saying?

    March 11, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  16. Buddy

    Obama camp wants to appoint Tony Rezko to take care of Foreign Policy the same way he toke care of Nadhin Auchi.

    March 11, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  17. Douglas, Columbus, Ga.

    Side Note....Bill has foreign experience...Lewinsky...isn't she of polish heritage?

    March 11, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  18. mattinator

    jd I completely agree with you. Chris what do you mean that Barack should withdraw? All Hillary is doing is lying about her experience, and trying to put Obama down, she is taking low blows, when Obama is dignified.


    March 11, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  19. Sire

    okay, the add did not help Billary win in Tx or OH. Billary had a lead significant lead going into the states, however, that was almost erased completely in TX and was tightened in OH. Remember, in TX she only won by just over 100k votes. That gave her a 4 delegate net for the state. a victory, but nothing that should be praised as great! they, billary are still over 130 dels behind.

    March 11, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  20. Lisa Finkelstein Studio City CA

    On the most critical foreign policy judgment of our generation – the War in Iraq – Senator Clinton voted in support of a resolution entitled “The Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of U.S. Military Force Against Iraq.” As she cast that vote, she said: “This is probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make - any vote that may lead to war should be hard - but I cast it with conviction.” In this campaign, Senator Clinton has argued – remarkably – that she wasn’t actually voting for war, she was voting for diplomacy. That claim is no more credible than her other claims of foreign policy experience. The real tragedy is that we are still living with the terrible consequences of her misjudgment. The Bush Administration continues to cite that resolution as its authorization – like a blank check – to fight on with no end in sight.

    March 11, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  21. justobserve

    What was Bill Clinton's national security when I first won hte Presidency? He is not better that Obama now so Hillary's lies are just that: tell the lies until people believe them. Billary are snakes, they will do anything to win the presidency for a third term.

    March 11, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  22. Josie

    I have a lot of Medical Experience as my x-hub or 12 years is a doctor. Hmm.. How would you like me performing your surgery.

    Obama/Kennedy 08

    March 11, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  23. Francis, the Netherlands

    I see many people argue that one candidate is not suited to become President (even the other candidate said so).

    Guess what: in a democracy the one with the votes gets the presidency, regardless of his or her – perceived – qualifications!

    Why else did you just have EIGHT YEARS BUSH PRESIDENCY?

    March 11, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  24. justobserve

    Correction : "...when Bill won the first presidency"

    March 11, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  25. Bob Poole

    Hasn't CNN carried this "Why should I be second" enough. Every time I turn on CNN they have to show the little baby crying why should I be second. I love ice cream but I don't eat it 24/7. I think CNN should do the same

    March 11, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
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